How Do You Get Rid Of And Kill Yucca Plants?

It’s hard to kill a yucca plant permanently, but you can try methods like physical removal, suffocation, or herbicide application. 

Large yucca plant in need of removalPin

How Can I Kill a Yucca Plant?

Some people might find it surprising to know that the yucca plant is not a noxious weed. It’s a perennial. For that reason, some people plant yuccas for aesthetic landscaping or xeriscaping.

However, some people consider yucca plants a nuisance with their enormous root system and how quickly they can grow.

So, if you’re considering removing one or more yucca plants, the experience of how to kill yucca plants is a challenging one.

To Kill a Yucca Plant

The yucca perennial is part of the succulent family. The indigenous North American plant defends itself from environmental threats aggressively, which can be animals or lack of water—making yucca plants notoriously difficult to kill.

And once they’ve grown to maturity, the task becomes daunting, and quite frankly, exhausting. The extensive root system of the yucca lies beneath the surface outside of your view. I

It is like looking for a needle in a haystack, even though you know how to identify pieces of a yucca root, which are left behind after removing the bulk of the yucca root.

If you want to know how to kill yucca plants, it starts with the roots and the time of year.

There are many ways to get rid of yucca plants. Unfortunately, there are no easy step-by-step instructions. Instead, there’s more of a process to it:

  • Removal
  • Suffocation
  • Herbicides

Getting Rid of Yucca Plants by Physical Removal

When deciding to remove a yucca plant, trim those prickly leaves first. Then cut down the remaining truck to ground level.

Then dig down approximately four to five feet and remove the root-ball with a spade. Finally, begin digging with a trowel or hoe, hunting for small pieces of root that broke-off while extracting the bulb.

Discard all the dirt you dug up and fill the hole back in with new yucca-free soil.

The likelihood of new shoots appearing should be dug up in the future, just as described above.

How To Get Rid Of Yucca Plants by Suffocation?

Another option for how to kill yucca plants is suffocation. However, this process can take up to a year to kill a yucca.

But just as described above, you need to cut back the leaves to the truck, then cut the trunk to ground level. You then cover the entire area around the root with five or six layers of newspaper, a single deconstructed cardboard box, or a 6-mil plastic sheet.

Whatever option you select, secure with a thick layer of compost and leave it in place for one year.

How To Kill Yucca Plants by Herbicides?

Your third option is using a herbicide. As with the other two options, this third option includes safety first by trimming back those pesky prickly leaves to the stock. Then cut the trunk to ground level.

Once prepped, saturate the trunk with the herbicide. If you’re dealing with a well-matured yucca, you can drill one- to two-inch holes into the truck and pour herbicide into the holes.

Remember, shoots may eventually break ground, and you can repeat the process using herbicides.

Related: Read our article on Tree Stump Removal Using Epsom Salt

Killing Yucca Plants is Not a One Time Deal

As mentioned throughout, yucca plants are notoriously difficult to kill and continue to re-grow long after removing the parent-plant–leading to the ongoing quest of how to kill yucca plants.

Patience and persistence are your best defense against the determined growth of the yucca plant.

How To Kill Yucca Sprouts?

Yucca sprouts are not friendly, especially if you remove the yucca plant from your yard altogether. Getting all the root is the biggest challenge in this fight and the most frustrating.

The good news, young yucca plants are much easier to kill despite the resilience of the species. The reason is the more youthful the plant, the soft its exterior, unlike mature yucca plants.

To make the process successful, you must continue to monitor the area for new yucca sprouts. Dousing the new growth with herbicide destroys a new sprout’s tender exterior to the root that lies beneath the surface.

If new growth is left unattended, you may find yourself repeating the dig phase, which is the most physically demanding. So, stay vigilant with weekly or monthly maintenance of the area to avoid any new yucca sprouts becoming overgrown.

Let’s Recap On Killing Yucca Plants

It’s a strange thing to think of a yucca plant as not being resilient and aggressive at the same time. Still, when an indigenous plant species finds its existence threatened, it will respond violently if necessary to survive.

That’s why persistence pays off when it comes to eliminating a yucca plant from your yard. No matter how many times you find yourself digging, suffocating, or using a herbicide to kill yucca plants.

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